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Put the old guy out in the snow...or not?

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  • Put the old guy out in the snow...or not?

    So my first real dilemma with my horses at home.

    Young horse is on stall rest, and couldn't go out in today's snowstorm anyway. But my old guy usually goes out by himself for about 8 hours, to keep his arthritic joint lubed. He has a nice paddock to walk around in, and he will usually mosey around.

    However, he can't eat hay, and I'm thinking that if all he's likely to do is stand around in the run-in shed, I may as well leave him inside with the stall-rester. But maybe he would walk around...

    What would you do?

    PS - Right now, he's happily finishing his hay cubes and standing head to head with the stall rester.
    Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

  • #2
    Is a paddock connected to any stalls perchance? Then you could always just open the door and let him roam back and forth - that way the stallrester could have company and the oldie could get a nice walk -

    And if you did put him out by himself, would the one in the stall get worked up because he was alone?
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Originally posted by MHM
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by RxCate View Post
      Is a paddock connected to any stalls perchance? Then you could always just open the door and let him roam back and forth - that way the stallrester could have company and the oldie could get a nice walk -

      And if you did put him out by himself, would the one in the stall get worked up because he was alone?
      I WISH I had the kind of setup where he could decide for himself! Unfortunately, no such luck. And the stall rester will get worked up the normal amount. He goes through three minutes of screaming and anger, and then remembers the good hay I just gave him and goes back to eating.
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


      • #4
        Well, if you're going to be home today to keep an eye on him, I'd go ahead and turn out.

        My old arthritic guy had no teeth and was on his complete feed + alfalfa cubes 3 X per day. He had a nice thick coat. He was out daily to move around. Even if the only real walking he does is from the lean to to the water, that's more movement than he'd get in his stall. I'd probably kick him out for a bit.

        If he starts shivering or showing signs of really wanting to come back in, you can bring him in. (if you're going to be around today)
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


        • Original Poster

          Well, he certainly acted like he wanted to go out, and he is moving around out there a little. He was very stiff coming out of his stall, so I think I did the right thing.

          I'm definitely not going anywhere today, so I'll just keep checking on him and bring him in when he looks like he's ready. Or when I doubt whether I'll be able to slog through the snow to the pasture...whichever comes first!
          Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


          • #6
            I'd say it depends on how much snow. We have around 20" here and I left my old guys inside this morning. Was going to turn them out since there's no ice, just snow, but honestly was a little scared of leading them out to their paddocks. It's hard just to walk, let alone walk an excited horse... I was scared I'd fall and get hurt, so left them in. If/when it stops snowing, I'll get hubby to take the tractor and clear a path from barn to paddock gates, and they can go out. Right now they're in with the little pony mare and all are munching hay.

            I'm really, really hoping our power stays on... the no water thing really sucks. I have a lot of containers and 2 bathtubs filled up just in case.


            • #7
              What food has he got outside?

              We've got -7 C and about 8 inches of snow and still falling heavily.

              Mine are all inside. They may well be turned out later if it stops falling but they've got free feed access to round bales of hay and to field shelters. They are in herds too.

              I wouldn't want one just hanging around not eating nor moving about in this weather. Especially not an oldie.


              • #8
                I have a setup where my older guy is (20- not ancient, but getting arthritic from a fracture/stifle injury) and I HATE deciding when and when not to turn out. People make it sound SO easy... "they're horses, they'll be fine" but it's not always like that with setup circumstances, etc. My guy (and his ancient buddy) are in a barn with concrete floors that they also have to walk across with snow packed feet to get in and out. Even when it's muddy, he may be more likely to re injure his stifle that never healed quite right. I finally bought a house and am making the setup with dutch doors to go outside for this VERY reason. I hated having to decide and not let the horses decide for themselves! Not saying it's necessarily possible for you, but with your older horse at home you may want to consider finding a solution like that. It never dawned on me when I boarded, but after we brought our horses home (my parents 10 years ago) it was like... crap, what do I do now!?! I vowed to never build another horse barn without outside access from the stalls, even if it was a dutch door with a small paddock off of it. I found an amish builder who was very reasonable to add the doors on the existing barn.

                Right now our horses don't go out when it's raining with lightning or snowing heavily. When there is snow on the ground it takes at least two people to be there to bring them in to chisel out the feet. Sigh.... I can't wait to get him home. I was shooting for before the snow but that obviously didn't happen. Just keep an eye on him. Even moving around for an hour is better than nothing if he's handling it ok. To encourage my horse to move around I put hay in various locations.


                • #9
                  The mare maniacs have been out in a shed all last night, the 35 plus year old mare stayed in last night but I turned her out this morning in her paddock with hay and her blanket, she trotted around, rolled about 6 times and she's frolicking, she loks pretty spry. I'll bring her back in later. I'm in virginia, we have over a ft of snow and its about 30 degrees. Everyone is barefoot, they don't seem to be having any trouble bucking and farting.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yellow-horse View Post
                    Everyone is barefoot, they don't seem to be having any trouble bucking and farting.
                    Ahhhhh. There's something so refreshing about bucking and farting on a snowy winter day isn't there?